Friday, 10 March 2017

This year is a bit different

This year is a bit different

The greenhouse is full, the poly tunnel is also fully planted. I started sowing seeds 2 months ago under heat and artificial light and it's worked well.

The lettuce is almost at the stage where we can start eating it as baby leaves and the tomatoes are looking excellent. They are not leggy but are compact, bushy and healthy looking under the grow lamp.

My biggest headache now is potting up plants to larger pots to give them growing space but also to bring them on a little more so that they can be sold on the market stall.

Sweet Millions and Money Maker tomatoes are in the foreground with Aubergines and Basket of Fire peppers at the back and to the left.
Chard and Spinach with Lettuce and Wong Bok. I've already potted up these lettuces (Oak Leaf and Lollo Rossa) and although these aren't in the hottest or lightest part of the green house they are doing well. I'm hoping these pots of lettuce can be sold for people to put on their kitchen window sill next week as cut and come again lettuce for salads.

Broad Beans, Kale and Sugar Snap Peas and Leeks with a couple of Rosemary cuttings. Most of the broad beans and peas have already been planted out. These Beans are Aquadulce and they have all started out looking leggy and odd but the others looked perfect and normal within a week of planting out. 

More Lettuce waiting to be placed in pots. Multiple plants in each module cell but as they will be cut and come again the crowding doesn't seem to matter.

I've also got 2nd sowings on the go of most things.

Even more on another shelf.

Other pots and containers are at the back of the poly tunnel, more lettuce, Wong Bok and young Cauliflower.

...and a cat that I have just spotted under the bench.

A few Bland and Red Currant cuttings forgotten about and left in the corner, these need to go outside as I need that space.

This is half of one side of the poly tunnel, old spinach that was left in modules too long at the back end of last year put in with the hope they would grow, they are, slowly but will be replace by new spinach in another week. Behind them is Mizuna and behind them are broad beans.

Half of the poly tunnel, has Picardy Garlic since they did so well here last year. 

Some red Russian Kale. Planted close together as we get through a lot of leaves.

Most of the Sugar snap peas are outside but I also have some in the poly tunnel, with Wong Bok at the back of this photo.

Aquadulce broad beans. Tightly packed in a corner. They didn't mind being packed in last year and produced 2 weeks earlier than outside.

I've forgotten to take a photo of the back middle of the poly tunnel but there are 2 Elephant Garlic, some Centurion Onions and Spring onions there. Also the front left where there is chard and lettuce.

The general idea of the poly tunnel plantings is to have a variety but also the things that sell well on the Market stall. I will be making notes of exactly what comes out of the poly tunnel this year so that I can see the weight and the amount I earn from it. I need to make sure that it pays it's way because being very cheap (£140 odd) it needs it's cover replaced regularly (£63). This cover is 12 months old and I know it will last until the Autumn but strong winds next winter will kill it off. The plastic gets holes in it because of the cats climbing over it and then the wind, frost and rain has something to attack. The tunnel leaks like crazy in the rain and the design of the big front and back doors means the wind can flap it which tares at the zip seams.  

Moving Outdoors.

I keep reading that young Kale shouldn't be planted out until all threat of frost has gone. Kale when it is bigger has survived all year and these young ones have had a few mild frosts so far with no problem, but this is an experiment as to whether it can handle the cold - so far so good. Red Russian.

Red Barron Onions on the right with Hungry Gap Kale in the middle (hoping these can withstand frost) with a row of Sugar Snap Peas recently sown. The peas from last year were self seeding and germinated in Early to mid February so I'm hoping these will do OK.

The Asparagus bed has only been half successful. 5 of the 10 plants were doing fine so I decided to take over the other half of the bed and have sown Red Chesnok Garlic here. They are all starting to appear.

Another Garlic Bed. Solent White, all coming along nicely.

Half of the main bed. Centurion Onions, slow to start but are poking their heads above ground now with some dwarf beans and the taller things in the back ground are Elephant Garlic. These were planted at the same time as the 2 in the poly tunnel but are a month behind. Behind them are more Solent White Garlic.

Last year I sowed some saved Kale seed. No real idea of the type apart from it sells well and is tasty. 6 to 8 plants have gone through the winter and are now growing strongly again.

I've started a nursery bed for fruit bushes. 12 Red Currant, 12 Black Currant, 6 Red Gooseberry and 6 Green Gooseberry. No idea about the success but it's a test.

Selling plants turned out to be a big winner on the Market last year so this year I have scaled up a bit. 30 pots of Raspberry (all of which were escapees from the fruit garden which popped up in the adjacent veg bed. I've already started selling these Autumn Bliss pots. Behind them are Currants, Hazel Nuts, Walnuts, Sweet Chestnuts and anything else I find to put in a pot...2 Wild Rocket also as well as some Mint.

Yet more pots. Currants, Gooseberry and a few Wild Garlic. I bought a load of wild garlic bulbs, most are planted outside but thought I'd try to sell a few plants but nothing is showing yet.

There is also a tray of Corn Cockle wild flowers and broad beans, left over from Market day and taken back out of the van and I've forgotten to put them away.

It's only March and already I'm well in to the season but this year I need to double up on Market takings. Since June 2016 when we started the market we have sold 1062 items, from packs of cakes to plants and bags of leaves and crafts. It has become clear that the veg and plants sell well, the crafts are going to make room for more plants because people are too used to seeing and buying cheap mass produced bags and crafty things and simple won't pay for someones time to make them in small quantities on our market.


  1. Wow - you have a lot going on and no wonder with the success of your market offerings! I would love to have a poly tunnel - that's one of my wish list items, together with a cold frame.

    1. The tunnel is as cheap as they get. I did a post about it last year.

      As for a cold frame, I built one and haven't really used it. As for hardening off plants, I don't, I just look at the week ahead for the night time temps and if it isn't likely to freeze I chuck stuff out.

  2. So many plants! You're ahead of me by at least a few weeks. I've only just started most of the veg off.

    Where did you buy the wild garlic from? I had a few in a pot but they were eaten by mice unfortunately.